Pro team retains Ryder Cup

SEBRING - The Professional team overcame a valiant effort by the Amateur squad to win the 19th annual Highlands County Ryder Cup on Sunday at Sebring Golf Club. The pros won by a score of 16-12 in the two-day competition for their fourth consecutive win. The Amateurs still lead the overall series 10-9. "It was a great competition and we're excited to get the win," said Sebring Golf Club Professional Kim Darrow. "The amateurs had a very tough team and it came right down to the wire. "This event is so much fun," said Sebring Golf Club assistant Professional Cody Brownell. "We came away with the win against a good amateur team and it's only going to get tougher in the years to come when some of those high school golfers get older."
The Highlands County Ryder Cup pits the best local amateurs against area professionals in a two-day competition using best ball, alternate-shot and singles matches. Saturday morning was the best ball matches with the pros winning 5-2. The pro duo of Mike Lamere and Dave Schumaker defeated Mike Browning and Rene Brown 1-up, Geoff Fisk and Andy Kesling won 3 and 2 over amateurs Curtis Donovan and Bud Wester, Joe Staffieri and Chip Curcio eased past amateurs Mike Lingenfelder and Mark Hopkins 2 and 1, Pros Jason Beatty and Jason Laman knocked off Larry Roy and Jeff Klingbiel 3 and 2 and Cody Brownell and Ryan Chandler eased past amateurs Nic Staffieri and Jett Dexter Jr. 4 and 3. The amateur pairing of Blake Liles and Greg Gentry defeated Pete DuPriest and Cory DeCoteau 3 and 2 and Sam Rogers and Mike Moore beat John Dean and Nell Hays 3 and 2. In Saturday afternoon's alternate-shot matches, the pros won 4-3 to make the overall score 9-5 heading into Sunday's 13 singles matches. In the singles matches, Pro Geoff Fisk beat Donovan 5 and 4, River Greens pro Jason Beatty eased past Browning 3 and 2, Schumaker beat Jeff Klingbiel 4 and 3. The amateurs rallied as Bud Wester whipped Curcio 5 and 4, Mike Lingenfelder and pro Jimmy Beasly tied and Hopkins edged Darrow 2 and 1. Pro Andy Kesling beat Mike Moore 1-up, amateur Mike Cleghorn defeated Joe Staffieri 3 and 2, Liles won 5 and 3 over Brownell, Roy won 2 and 1 over Lamere and Nic Staffieri beat DeCoteau 1-up to make things tight. But the pros sealed the victory as Chandler beat Rogers 2-up and DuPriest cruised past Dexter Jr. by a score of 5 and 4. The amateurs were without Gentry for Sunday's singles matches and they played the competition without Bobby Barben, who qualified but was out of town. "I'm real happy with the way the pairings went," said Amateur captain Blake Liles. "Most of the singles matches went to the 14th or 15th hole and that's pretty good. The pro team is stacked and they played a little better than we did. "This is a great competition and it's always fun to compete against the pros." With the pro team a win away from evening the series, next year's competition should be an exciting event. "This is by far one of the most enjoyable events we play," said Brownell. "We all have fun and enjoy playing with each other and that's what this competition is all about. "We're looking forward to next year and trying to even the series." 863-386-5841